Kick-starting a child's future one meal at a time

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Basic Education Deputy Minister Regina Mhaule has called on the private sector to collaborate with government in a bid to cast its net wider and feed more children.

The Minister made these remarks on Wednesday at the launch of the Department of Basic Education’s National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) at Winnie Mandela Primary School in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni.

The launch is a product of a joint partnership between the DBE and South African food and beverage products company, Pioneer Foods.

“Education is a societal matter. We wish other partners can join in on this initiative. Through these partnerships, we will help learners to focus.

“If a child has breakfast, they perform better than those who did not, which means having breakfast is very important,” said the Deputy Minister.

The NSNP is a government programme that provides one nutritious meal to all learners in poorer primary and secondary schools.

The aim is to provide nutritious meals to learners and improve their ability to learn. According to its 2013/14 annual report, the programme had reached more than nine million learners in quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools.

The programme also teaches learners and parents how to lead a healthy lifestyle, and promotes development of school vegetable gardens.

The launch of the programme at Winnie Mandela Primary makes Gauteng the seventh province that Pioneer Foods supplies with breakfast.

According Pioneer Foods CEO Tertius Carstens, the foods and beverages company serves breakfast to about 35 000 children across the country.

“We are proud to make a contribution to the sustainable development goals of reducing hunger and poverty in our country.

“Feedback on this programme confirms that absenteeism has reduced and school performance has improved,” said Carstens.

While Wednesday marked the official launch, the primary school started serving breakfast to its pupils from July.

School principal Solomon Simango said his school had already seen an improvement in the learners’ reading marks since the start of the programme.

“Learners also arrive on time to ensure they receive the breakfast, which is served from 7am until 7.20am. This has also reduced late coming,” said Simango. -